Timing is everything

Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking…

Trying to wake the kid. Rushing to get his lunch made. Hoping the car will start. Scrambling to get things done hours earlier than usual, and “usual” is pretty damn early.

Crossing my fingers that I make it to the dealership. Pleading for no traffic. Counting on that loaner.

Checking my watch, checking the wall clock, checking my checklists, checking my sanity at the door…

There’s reading to do, revisions to make, a phone meeting later, more for my son. Will my body hold up? What about brain function?

Sleep deprived America

Where are those statistics? Where is that article describing a woman’s lack of sleep as a national health crisis?

An exaggeration? Possibly. Then again, if I got more sleep I could locate the article, wouldn’t feel like I’m running on empty, tearing through another period of blurred days and nights and still not getting it all done.

In periods of desert, the expanse seems infinite. In periods of abundance, we can hardly keep up. Parenthood? It’s both. Single parenthood? Even more so. The proverbial marathon across years of shifting sands.

Time’s a wasting, where’s my clone?

Dead car for my son’s midterms? Naturally.

Dental dramas? That, too.

And during the week I have no slack – appointments early, appointments late, and resurrecting energy to meet normal commitments is tough enough, much less unanticipated extras.

Can I call in a clone for noontime? Another for evening? A third to help with the cooking, the shopping, the cleaning, the reminding, the driving?

Timing is everything

I look up and it’s something else. I look down before I trip and fall.

Don’t look up, I tell myself. Don’t look down either.

Yes, it’s feast or famine. And timing is everything. If only we had some say in serendipity – as the house phone rings, the cell phone buzzes, the alarm jolts my son, emails clog my reader, and I worry if the car battery will actually turn over…

Spring forward, fall back

Our notions of time are constantly shifting, ever distorted, never what we desire: childhood seems boundless when we’re in it, tedious approaching adolescence, all too short as we grapple with adulthood. Jobs we loathe force us to clock watch; clock watching becomes a habit that ages us; with age, time speeds up and only then do we fully understand its value. And we languish over missed opportunities, wondering if it’s really too late, not wanting to spring forward, and pondering falling back, so we might do it all again – differently.

© D A Wolf



  1. says

    I do struggle with everything–trying to find a way to squish in that ONE extra thing into my day. I always feel like I’m doing too much and doing it all badly. Mornings are the worst–I feel like I’m constantly barking orders like a general.

  2. says

    Wow – you hit home on so many levels here I don’t even know where to start. Sleep deprivation is my middle name, although lately I’ve made it a point to force myself to bed earlier. I realize that I can no longer function in my state and I’m hoping for it to change.

    And the clock watching? Guilty. “Jobs we loathe force us to clock watch; clock watching becomes a habit that ages us” Ouch. Now I know why I feel much older than I am. It’s not so much the job that I hate but the life I prefer outside of my grey office walls. One helps me survive, the other makes me feel alive – I guess for now, I need them both.

    When I get home, the race against time, the scrambling for mere moments with my family, the chores, the time for myself (blogging) and sleep. In the end, sleep suffers.

    And the next day, we do it all over again.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      We do do it all over again, and maybe it’s just part of parenting (mothering?) in contemporary times, for most of us. The problem is when you hit overload and it takes its toll, everywhere. Fortunately, with experience (gray hair, dammit), we even get so we can manage that. Sort of. It just ain’t pretty. . .

  3. says

    I’ve been struggling with this more than usual lately – the week is my spring forward; the weekend is my fall back. Workdays are always a rush – to the office, at the office, home again, dinner and laundry and playtime and bedtime, blogtime. Then on weekends I have to catch up on the homebuilding, the highest-quality playtime, the prep for next week. How? Sleep deprivation!

  4. says

    I am a perpetual clock watcher. I believe it offers me a false sense of control.

    As for sleep, I know that I can’t stay up as late as I used to. I’ve even declined some dinner invitations because I need enough sleep to fuel my run in the early am. One of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami talks about how his relationship with friends suffer because he has a specific bedtime. He wakes up early to run and write and he can’t do those things effectively unless he got enough sleep.

  5. says

    So poignant…I’m on the other side of this, for the most part. I have a child out of the house, another one who is eighteen, and both drive. Jack is the only one left who requires a driver, a personal secretary, maid and cook. I breathe deeper now. I sleep better. And I don’t mean for this to be trite but it does get easier. It helps that I have someone telling me, “Don’t you dare take on one more thing.” For all my bitching about how busy I was, I also realized I was complicit in my madness. As soon as things get calm, I like to throw a wrench in the whole thing and add something else. Take care of yourself first: Eat, sleep, breathe deeply, the rest of the shit can wait.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      The “take care of yourself first” doctrine. Yep. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, not so much. Especially since some of the shit can be postponed, and the rest? Nope. But I think I’ll catch my breath and eat something! (She says, looking out the office window, at the loaner car. Phew!!)

  6. says

    Oh I hear you on this one. And, what’s worse is that I think I’m passing it on to my kids…the notion of never enough time. I say to my 6-year-old “tick tock, tick tock” when he’s delaying the brushing of teeth or other such bedtime task. It’s crossed my mind more than once that I might be causing real damage.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Ha! Cathy, I love it. . . you really say “tick tock, tick toc?”

      I think about this too. And partly, the crazy crazy is because it’s the kid’s midterms (yesterday and today), which meant more mess, more stress, near all-nighters, extra food (for him), and he has SATs in the morning. Talk about “timing is everything!” These teachers have to know that. They couldn’t have scheduled midterms 3 days earlier, or 3 days later?? But you’re right. We pass these tendencies on to our kids. We actually get better at dealing with it (IMO), but them? I worry.

  7. says

    There are days when I feel like this – and most of the time… I just let go. It will happen or it won’t and stressing about it just makes it a miserable process. Most of the time, we are prompt – we are where we need to be when we need to be there. Deadlines are met, homework is done, appointments are juggled and kept… and I survive noting the times in between!!

  8. says

    It’s a very long tunnel, but there is light at the end. For whatever comfort it may give, you will finally reach the age where you can retire, where the kids have grown up and moved on with their lives, where you can choose how to spend your days. Sleep at night, nap in the afternoon if you wish. That time of your life where the time of the day is no longer of major concern. When you can stop wearing a watch (although I suspect most of already have and that we use our cell phones to check the time). Hang in there!

    • BigLittleWolf says

      It’s not that it’s bad exactly, you just want off the merry-go-round for a little bit, if you know what I mean. That said, the loaner car is nicer than the one in the shop. Maybe they’ll take their time. 😉

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